Monday, April 28, 2003

Morgantown, West Virginia

Morgantown, West Virginia

Christi, Dust and I were late in driving to the Pittsburgh airport. Our plane was to leave at 3:15, and it was 2:40.

I sighed, realizing we weren’t going to make it. “Well, they’ll just bump us to another flight, I suppose – it’ll be Okay.”

Dust had twoof his left fingers resting on his temple while he drove, a position of his annoyance or deep thought. “You know, Elizabeth, I know your ability to plan for the worst is often helpful to you, but you might still make it here. Why always expect failure?”

“Because then when things work out well, I’ll always be pleasantly surprised, rather than disappointed.”

Christi let out a little “Ha!” from the backseat. We pulled up to the terminal, got our hugs and kisses from Dustin, and ran – I mean really ran – to the check in counter, ran to our terminal, and * just * made it – as we arrived huffing, the stewardess called our seats to board.

“We made it!” exclaimed Christi.

“I hope our luggage makes it.” I grumbled unintentionally.

“Quit being so negative.”

I tried.

Christi and I had an interesting weekend up in West Virginia, visiting Dust. I went not only to hang out with them, but also to try and escape all the crud that’s in my life lately. I blew up my second car in two months Thursday night before we left, meaning I didn’t make it to Nashville and Christi had to come spend the night with me in a Holiday Inn about 100 miles from my house.

Once we got to West Virginia to see Dust, the three of us were together just ourselves again for the first time in three years. We all had to find out how we fit together again in social circumstances, and it was like a Chinese puzzle. We all still love each other, but we’ve all changed a lot. Christi and I felt like we were in a comic book crossover issue, one where characters from Dustin’s previous college run (Adventures of a Graphic Design Feminist), met the characters in the current continuity, a very popular title (Puppet School Man!!) . She and I were characters from an indy press, alternative women with issues. The characters in the more popular mainstream comic were still teenagers mostly, and a lot more fashionable.

But see? I’m still being negative. There were a lot of great things that happened. Like we got to see Dustin in his new, happy environment, obviously connecting with things that make him grow and challenge him creatively. The three of us lay around reading comic books. We saw two plays, a puppet show, and John Cusack in Identity. After seeing Identity, we tried to figure out which figures from popular culture would meet up in the hotels in our minds, a fun thing to do. We got to tour Morgantown, one of those cool little arts communities that really have it together.

I liked Morgantown a lot – it was one of those places you could tell the locals were proud of. I thought about running away from Atlanta, from my family, from my plans and hanging out there for a year, pretending to be 19 again. I could take the money I’ve saved up to get a place with Dinan and Ron in Midtown and just…drive to Morgantown. And I could get a job in that bad pizza place we visited, and just work a shit job again, and live paycheck to paycheck. I could get 20-year-old roommates and I could be a stoner again. I could live with my own disappointments and a big pile of comic books and lowered expectations in some apartment full of dirty clothes.

This week is my last week at a job I love. I loved the job, but the people have been awful; I have nothing to do as of Monday, and so I’ll just get a shit job here in town and keep making it. I can keep just making it, just making it, thinking about all the things I wanted in my life that you can’t work to get, those things that just have to happen to you that don’t happen to everyone, only the lucky few. Or I could run. I could take my money, throw my plans to the wind, and chase some boy younger than me, still in university, while I try to pretend that I don’t know the truth about a great deal of things.

Wherever I go, whatever I do, I can’t seem to see a way out of a million problems that creep up to haunt me day after day. And while every time the sun shines across my face I can tilt my freckles upward and think “the world is a beautiful place”, I can’t solve a lot of my problems. These problems are caused by other people whom I can’t change. And since I am currently unable or unwilling to change my relationships with these problem people, I guess I have no choice but to get on with it, to party, to run down to the beach in a couple of weeks, to try to roll around strange towns with my friends, talking about alternate universes and random chance and pagan holidays and how much I miss you, I miss all of you, and I’m not sorry.

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